Nats send top prospect Seth Romero home for violating curfew
By CHUCK KING
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) Seth Romero, a top pitching prospect selected by Washington with the 25th overall pick in last year's amateur draft, was sent home from spring training by the Nationals for violating curfew.
Washington said the left-hander violated team policy but did not go into details. A person familiar with the situation said Romero's girlfriend was at spring training and he stayed out late. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because no announcements were authorized.
"We don't discuss family politics or family issues, but he's part of this family," general manager Mike Rizzo said Tuesday. "Actions beget consequences. No player is bigger than the organization."
Romero was kicked off the team during his final season at the University of Houston. Coach Todd Whitting issued a statement attributing the decision to an unspecified event that followed what the coach said was previous conduct detrimental to the team.
Before that, some had projected Romero as an early first-round pick. He signed with the Nationals for a $2.8 million bonus.
Romero, who turns 22 on April 19, had been training on the minor league side of Nationals camp. Rizzo didn't offer a timeframe for Romero's return.
"Hopefully when he gets back here he'll be better for it," Rizzo said.
Romero pitched in one game for the Nationals' rookie league team and six for Class A Auburn last season, going 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in 22 innings.
He was 4-5 with a 3.51 ERA as a junior at the University of Houston before being tossed off the team in May. Romero throws a fastball that can reach 95 mph, a slider and a changeup.
"This isn't the first time we've sent a player home and it won't be the last," Rizzo said.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.
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Updated March 6, 2018